joys of christmas

I am Santa Claus this year, and as such, I know every gift that I am getting. Ever since my parents divorced, Christmas has not been the same. And since my mom died, it has really changed. Don’t get me wrong. I still enjoy it, but it’s different. My dad’s wife is just not my mom and she never will be. The perfection of the deceased is something with which few can compete, and I realize this, but just the same, my mom was amazing when it came to Christmas, or any holiday for that matter.

The year before my mom died (well, month really), my sisters and I returned home from college to find our home decorated to the hilt. Candles were lit (one had actually burned the side of a post in our entryway–that’s my mom), the tree was flocked (always a flocked tree in the living room), stockings were hung, lights dotted our roof, and it smelled of Christmas. That was Christmas in the Andersen home (broken or not). Christmas morning we awoke to the same unreal mound of gifts to which we had become accustomed (especially since the divorce). I can’t recall whether my dad’s wife was there or not. Funny how some things get forgotten. It was the perfect Christmas.

This year promises to be another good Christmas. While the decorations don’t come close to my mother’s and the food will not be homemade, my entire family is going to be here. This is the first time in a long time we will all be together for something other than a funeral. Everyone arrives on Friday and I couldn’t be more excited. There are bound to be arguments, complaints and hurt feelings. But there will be laughter and love and food and gifts and fun. All of the things necessary for a perfect occasion.

We will go out and manage to spend a small fortune on the 23rd (this is normally the 24th, but seeing as how the 24th is a Sunday this year, it will have to occur the day before). We will each open our matching pajamas Christmas Eve. We will make gingerbread houses. Okay, not make, but decorate (the making of the gingerbread died with my mom). We will continue the traditions created by my mother and add to those the ones we have created since she left us. We will have our traditionally GINORMOUS breakfast. We will open gifts. We will watch children play with their new toys. We will talk about the newest niece who will join us in June. We will discuss our jobs. We will play Phase-10 into the wee hours of the morning. We will watch movies. We will gorge ourselves on chocolate and treats of all kinds. We will thank my dad for making Christmas as wonderful as ever. We will enjoy all of our fun toys in the ensuing months. And the memories will last a lifetime.

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